Freshman Makayla Vannett (23) had career highs of six 3-pointers and 20 points to lead the Blue Dragon women to an 81-60 win over Western Nebraska on Monday in the opening-round of the 2019 NJCAA Tournament in Lubbock, Texas. (Photo courtesy Joe Morales/Rapid Shotz photography)
Freshman Makayla Vannett (23) had career highs of six 3-pointers and 20 points to lead the Blue Dragon women to an 81-60 win over Western Nebraska on Monday in the opening-round of the 2019 NJCAA Tournament in Lubbock, Texas. (Photo courtesy Joe Morales/Rapid Shotz photography)

Hutchinson CC Sports Information

LUBBOCK, Texas – The Hutchinson Community College women's basketball team snapped its own dubious NJCAA Tournament streak and also snapped a long winning streak of Western Nebraska's at the same time.

The No. 8-ranked ranked and No. 13-seeded Blue Dragons advanced to the second round of the 2019 NJCAA Women's National Tournament with a resounding 81-60 win over No. 21-ranked and 20th-seeded Western Nebraska in the opening round at the Rip Griffin Center.

The victory was the first for Hutchinson in Lubbock since the tournament moved to Texas in 2017. The Blue Dragons snapped a three-game national tournament losing streak that dated back to the 2015 national championship game. The Blue Dragons improved to 31-3 overall and will advance to play No. 4-seeded Angelina College at 2 p.m. on Wednesday in a second-round matchup.

Hutchinson also snapped Western Nebraska's 17-game winning streak. The Cougars end their season at 29-4.

The Blue Dragons did so by frustrating the nation's top 3-point shooting team and No. 3 leading individual scorer in WNCC's Merle Wiehl.

Hutch held the Cougars to 9 of 32 shooting from distance, but only five makes came in the first three quarters. By that time the Blue Dragons had a 61-44 lead and built leads as large as 27 points. Hutchinson held the NJCAA's fifth-highest scoring team 30 points under its season scoring average. Wiehl finished with 17 points, but on 7 of 19 overall shooting and just 3 of 13 from 3-point range.

Hutchinson freshman guard Makayla Vannett knocked down a career-best six 3-point goals on 11 attempts to finish with a career-high 20 points. Now with 85 3-pointers this season, Vannett moved past Heather Robben (2008-10) into seventh place on Hutch's single-season 3-point list.

Joining Vannett with a career-high performance was freshman Abby Ogle, who had a career-best 16 points on 6 of 8 shooting. Ogle added four steals, three assists and three rebounds. Her momentum-changing play at the end of the first quarter – a steal of the ball from Wiehl and layup in the final 5 seconds of the period – gave Hutch a 21-17 lead and sparked an 11-2 run that helped the Blue Dragon erase an early five-point deficit.

Sophomore Dejanae Roebuck was the third Blue Dragon to score in double figures with 12 points. She moved past Kim Gwinner (1986-88) into sixth place on the Blue Dragon career scoring list with 965 points.

Sophomore Jada Mickens also reached a milestone in the opening game of the national tournament. She had eight points and a season-high 13 rebounds. Her final rebound made her the 11th Blue Dragon ever to reach 500 career rebounds.

Milan Schimmel and Tijuana Kimbro had six points each and Kelsey Brett added five, including a 3-pointer.

The Dragons finished the game shooting 41.2 percent (28 of 68), hitting 7 of 20 from 3-point range and 18 of 20 from the free-throw line. The Dragons out-rebounded Western Nebraska 43-27 and had just nine turnovers, the first time since opening night to have less than 10 turnovers in a single game.

Western Nebraska hit 7 of its first 11 shots, but missed on 31 of its final 47 attempts over the final three quarters. The Cougars finished 39.7 percent (23 of 58) overall and was just 5 of 6 from the foul line. The Cougars committed 12 turnovers.

Tishara Morehouse was the only other Cougar to score in double figures with 13 points.

After five early lead chances in the first six minutes of the game, the Cougars beat the Blue Dragons down the floor for a transition layup by Wiehl to lead 15-10 with 3:03 to play in the first quarter. Vannett started to warmup up at that point with her first made from long range to start what became a 11-2 run to close the opening quarter. Hutch grabbed a 17-15 lead on a Ogle layup with 1:27 left. She then picked Wiehl's pocked just inside half court and scored with 1 second remaining to give Hutch a 21-17 lead after one period.

The Blue Dragons took their first double-digit lead with 6:37 left in the second quarter when Vannett popped a long-distance shot for a 31-21 lead. The Cougars scored the next five points, but Schimmel's strong take to the bucket snapped that WNCC run. The Dragons pushed their lead to 37-26 on a heads-up play by Ogle with 1:08 to go. With the shot clock running out, Vannett fired a desperation 3 that missed everything. But as the ball was going out of bounds, Ogle grabbed the ball and dished it to a wide-open Mickens, who hit a 14-footer as the shot clock buzzer sounded. The Cougars had the final points of the half when Morehouse hit a long 3 just before the horn to cut the Hutchinson lead to 37-31 at halftime.

Hutch maintained a safe margin through most of the third quarter and led 46-36 with 6 minutes to play in the period. Getting seven points from Roebuck and six from Ogle in the period, Hutchinson took command with a 18-8 run which lasted into the early stages of the fourth quarter. After Brett hit a 3-pointer from the right corner and Sara Cramer hit a 15-footer transition jumper the Dragons lead 64-44 with 8:08 to play in the game.

Vannett finished off her career game with three fourth-quarter 3-pointers; her fifth of the game gave Hutch its largest lead of 27 at 74-47 with 3:45 to play. Trey No. 6 game with 59 seconds left for an 81-58 Hutchinson lead.

GAME NOTES – The Blue Dragons are now 17-10 all-time in nine NJCAA Tournament appearances, including 4-2 in opening-round games. … The 31 wins this season ties the 2008-09 Blue Dragons four fifth most in team history. … The Blue Dragons are 3-2 against the NJCAA Top 25 this season. … This was the 30th time in 34 games to hold an opponent to less than 40 percent shooting. … The Dragons tied their largest deficit to win a game at five. … The 2019 Blue Dragons became the fifth team in Hutch history to reach 1,000 field goals (1,008). Hutchinson had a 38-18 advantage in points in the paint.